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Why Modern India Needs To Welcome Co-Working Flexible work spaces were initially popular among freelance professionals and start-ups, but today have become a big part of the corporate office structure

By Sammeer Pakvasa

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Gone are the days when the working class functioned within the 9-5 timeframe. Today, the corporate world is defined by start-ups, flexible working hours and the ease of space. This in turn, has revolutionized the way we work, including our office space. To this extent, co-working as emerged as one of the fastest-growing trends in the work environment. This is further validated by a JLL report that states that the share of co-working in total office leasing spiked from 8 per cent in 2018 to 12 per cent in the first quarter of 2019.

These flexible work spaces were initially popular among freelance professionals and start-ups, but today have become a big part of the corporate office structure. Many in the field have realized the numerous advantages that they hold, and have embraced the change. Not only do these create an enabling environment that allows professionals to channel their creativity and boost productivity, but it also allows one to network with like-minded and diverse professionals, from a cross-section of industries. It is no wonder then, that the co-working segment is today a booming real estate business for landlords and plays a vital part of the strategy to attract occupiers. In fact, co-working spaces have become so popular in India that a report by real estate consultancy firm CBRE stated that the segment witnessed a 70 per cent increase on a quarterly basis, touching 2.9 million sq. ft by the end of Q1 2019. Here's why co-working will continue to grow in popularity, and modern Indian should embrace this trend.

Also Read: Co-working Spaces: Hidden Treasure for Investors

Co-working allows productivity to increase and nurture creativity

Research shows that being surrounded by like-minded individuals can greatly increase one's productivity. In fact, a survey by CBRE's Research and A&T Occupier Group found that 50 per cent of the respondents saw their productivity increase, as well as collaborations, since they started using shared workspaces. Additionally, co-working companies offer facility management which enables users to reduce their operational costs and maximize productivity. The introduction of artificial intelligence in co-working habitats allows for smart desks that workers can use to control lights and heating, and as this technology further develops, it will define co-working in the future.

Also Read: A Co-working Space vs. a Private Office: How Do You Choose?

Co-working helps meet sustainability goals

With several companies, and people working under one roof, electricity, water and other resources can be optimally utilized. This can go a long way in helping achieve global, as well as corporate sustainability goals together. In India, roughly 75 per cent of start-up founders who are below the age of 35 work from a shared space. This consumer base is also found to give conservation of natural resources its due importance. Thus, with the conservation of resources on such a scale, it can result in 20-25 per cent savings on operational expenses. Furthermore, most co-working spaces are centrally located close to public transport hubs, and are a great way to encourage the use of public transport, easy commutes, and ultimately lower carbon emissions. More recently though, a lot of shared workspaces have begun adopting green practices, especially in terms of design, layout and utilities. Their design incorporates the use big windows for natural sunlight to flow through, smart lights, solar powered systems and more. Some companies in fact are also incorporating air-purifying plants, and those which are drought resistant, to help save water.

Also Read: What's Behind the Exponential Rise of Co-working Spaces in India?

Co-working is the present and future

India has the third-largest start-up ecosystem in the world, according to industry body, NASSCOM. It is also estimated that about 10,500 new start-ups are expected to enter the market by 2020. Further projections by CBRE show that the space take-up from co-working space operators will rise to 7.9 million sq. ft by 2020, up from 5.4 million sq. ft in 2018. As a result, the sector is poised for tremendous growth, and will soon become the new normal, in the corporate environment.

Sammeer Pakvasa

Managing director, Eleganz Interiors

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